Over the course of human history, paying appropriate tribute to a loved one has ranged from the bizarre to grandiose: professional female mourners during the time of Pharaohs, Viking warriors’ pyres set adrift on the sea, Victorian mourning portraits (creepy!), the KISS coffin, the CataCombo System, Eco-burials, and rocketing into the Final Frontier. According to an AARP article, it’s becoming more common to have an “End of Life Celebration” rather than the solemn funerary service of the last two or three centuries. So, if Sandra West can rest in her ’64 Ferrari for eternity, what options are available to audiophiles?
UK music artist Jason Leach (House of Fix), offers another unique ‘spin’ to memorializing loved ones – pressing their ashes into vinyl records. “Live on beyond the groove!” is his lighthearted tagline.
Despite the playful tone of his website, UK-based Leach isn’t some young punk looking to make a mockery out of the mourning process. Having spent his younger years feeling invincible, spinning his post-industrial/cinematic/experimental music at clubs, the concept of his own mortality began to weigh heavily on him. At the time, he was releasing a lot of his work on vinyl and the idea sprang up. Initially a personal plan, the feedback he received was so positive that he decided to offer the service publicly via his website.
He says, “Personally, I would love to own a record of my great great grandfather for example on which I can listen to his voice, hear what he liked and the music and places that meant a lot to him. To hear the actual sound of someone’s voice exactly as they sounded, vibrating the air in my room, speaking of things that meant a lot to them all that time ago is profound and exciting to me. I love the idea of my future generations being able to fill their room with my voice in 200 years time by running a needle through the spiral groove of a record which I made for them from me.”
Leach’s services, however, aren’t limited to sprinkling cremated remains into hot plastic. He says he fields requests for pets sometimes, but the most common inquires come from music lovers who want the ashes of musicians’ instruments pressed into records. “Arguably the whole concept is a little unusual but recently, we enjoyed making clear vinyls of a Francesca Zingrillis art piece, where she had a classical score written and played by violins and cellos – all of which was set on fire and filmed. We pressed these ashes into a record containing the audio recording of the event.”
To further personalize your record, Leach has partnered with artists Jason Hague and Paul Insect, who will create your portrait via a live sitting or from a photograph. Of course, you may choose your own artwork as well. And while he hasn’t worked with anyone from this side of the pond yet, he doesn’t exclude the possibility.
What do you think, Audiogoners? Is this an honor befitting your love for high-end audio? Share your thoughts in the comments!
A special thanks to member, Slikric3000 for letting us know about this unique service!
To listen to an original composition by House of Fix, click play below: